Microscopic View of Frost on Blade of Grass

March 17, 2004


Provided by: Eric Erbe
Summary authors & editors: Eric Erbe; Jim Foster

The spectacular image above shows morning frost on a blade of grass as imaged using a low-temperature scanning electron microscope (SEM). This grass fragment was held in liquid nitrogen (-196 degrees C or -320 F), to keep the frost crystals from melting, before it was imaged at the Scanning Electron Microscopy Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland. Frost crystals form perpendicular to individual blades of grass. Note that although these plate type crystals are hexagonal, a number of them appear to be square-shaped.

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